The hallways of Neptune High School were filled with the usual chatter of the morning crowd. While some students were already seated in their homeroom, other students hung around their lockers, killing time until the first bell rang. In the case of Kaylie Pearce, she was waiting for a certain blue-eyed blonde with who she had matters to discuss with.
Kaylie flipped her cellphone open just as it buzzed for a text message.
“Lover boy?” Madison asked as she passed boy. Kaylie only smiled. “See you in homeroom?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there in a minute,” Kaylie replied. Turning back to her phone, Kaylie read the message from her boyfriend.
Good morning babe!
Kaylie typed a reply. Good morning.
After sending, she closed her phone and turned her attention back to the entrance of the school. The five-minute warning bell sounded through the halls. She sighed impatiently. If she didn’t catch Veronica anytime soon, then she’d have to wait until second period. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if she did, but curiosity was getting the better of her.
Kaylie flipped her phone open again.
San Diego this weekend? Ill pick u up on my way down.
You know I can’t.
Kaylie sighed again, this time in frustration. After his visit the past weekend, Kaylie let her boyfriend know that her parents practically forbade her from visiting San Diego again. Damien questioned her why, but she couldn’t give an answer. All her mom said was that she didn’t like her driving the whole one hour and half by herself and how much gas she would just be wasting. However, Kaylie suspected another reason and it had something to do with the internship she was offered for the past summer. Actually, after more reflecting, Kaylie suspected it had something to do with who she would have had to work for. Kaylie had never seen her mom so unnerved when she found out.
Just tell ur mom ur staying at a friends.
Knowing an argument would just ensue, Kaylie finally conceded.
Thanks babe. Means a lot to me. I love you.
Love you too
Kaylie tossed her phone in her bag as she saw Veronica turn the corner. She made a move to meet Veronica halfway when she saw none other than Eli Navarro walking beside her. Kaylie groaned. What she had to discuss with Veronica was something she didn’t want or need anyone else to hear.
She leaned against her locker and waited, glancing at the odd couple. Technically, they weren’t really a couple. What Veronica and Eli’s relationship was, Kaylie didn’t know. All she knew was that Eli Navarro was the leader of the PCH motorcycle gang. Her first encounter with him occurred only a couple weeks ago at Logan’s back to school beach party. Her younger sister Mandy wanted to go as a way to make an in with the popular 09er crowd. Kaylie didn’t like the thought of her fifteen year old sister drinking with a bunch of strangers, so she finally decided to tag along. The party didn’t last long, seeing that the Eli led his the PCHers in crashing the party that was held on “their beach.” Kaylie didn’t stick around long enough to see the outcome. She dragged her drunken sister away from the party and sped off.
The slamming of a locker brought Kaylie back to the hallways of Neptune. She pushed herself off as she saw Veronica finally on her own, leaving Eli Navarro at his locker.
“Hey, you’re Veronica right?” Kaylie said as the blonde haired girl was within speaking distance.
“Depends, who’s asking?” she replied, eyeing Kaylie suspiciously. “You’re the new girl, right?”
“Yeah, that’s me,” Kaylie laughed. “But I prefer to be called Kaylie.”
“Well, Kaylie, fair warning, I may not be the best person to talk to if you want to maintain your 09er status.”
“Okay, got it,” Kaylie said, a hint of sarcasm in her voice. “Anyway, I heard that you have a thing for helping people out.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it a thing. It’s more like an extracurricular activity. My anti-drug, if you will.”
Kaylie laughed. Veronica turned out to be more pleasant than her new friends made her out to be.
“Right, well, I need some information on someone.”
“Oh?” Veronica asked. “Who is it? A stalker? An admirer? Potential love interest?”
“Um, I don’t think it’s anything exciting like that,” Kaylie admitted. Veronica put on a look of disappointment. “But I just need whatever information you can dig up.”
Kaylie dug into her backpack envelope.
“’Bella Vita Planning’? You want me to dig up information on an event planning business?”
“No, I want you to dig up information on Jenny Marcelino, the owner of the event planning business. As well as her husband, Vincent Marcelino. I think he’s some kind of an attorney or something.”
“They’re based in San Diego,” Veronica said.
“Yeah-“ The hallway filled with the melodic ringing. “Shit. Uh, I can fill you in some more at PE?”
“Don’t worry, I got all I need. This’ll be easy peezy! I’ll have it done by the end of school!”
“Great! Thanks!” Kaylie called as she quickly walked towards her homeroom.
“Psst!” Kaylie looked up from her place at the lunch table. She saw Veronica sitting a few tables away. She waved at Kaylie then nodded her to come over.
“What are you doing, Kay?” Her sister, Mandy, asked.
“I asked her to help me with something,” Kaylie replied as she stood up. She dumped the remainder of her lunch into the trash can and proceeded to Veronica’s table.
“This has got to be my fastest case, yet.”
“You got something?”
Veronica turned her laptop towards Kaylie.
“Meet the Marcelino family.” Kaylie looked at the picture the good looking couple and a teenager who looked as equally attractive. “Vincent Marcelino, a high profile attorney. Jenny Marcelino, former supermodel who dabbled in clothing lines, perfume lines, and makeup lines before opening up her current business Bella Vita Planning. And of course, their handsome son, TJ Marcelino. Recent graduate of San Diego Academy where he was on the honor roll and the quarterback, and now is enrolled in UCSD to follow in the footsteps of his father.”
“Wow, that’s pretty good.”
“Pretty good? ‘Pretty good’ doesn’t really mean ‘pretty good; especially with your tone and lack of umpf!”
“Sorry,” Kaylie said. “It’s just…I could have easily Googled all this up myself.”
“I’m guessing you want more? What exactly are you looking for?”
“Honestly, I don’t know.” Veronica gave her a look. “Look, last year at my old school, I was offered a position as Jenny Marcelino’s office assistant for over summer break. When I told my parents, they were excited for me, until they found out who I was going to be working for.”
“Not a fan of Mrs. Marcelino, then?” Kaylie shook her head.
“I think the Marcelinos in general.”
“Hmm,” Veronica said, thoughtfully tapping her finger on her chin.
“My mom suddenly had all these excuses on why I shouldn’t work for Jenny Marcelino. So I told my teacher I couldn’t take the position. That same day, I met Michael Marcelino.” Kaylie paused as Veronica began typing away on her laptop.
“Younger brother of Vincent Marcelino. Uh, not much on here about him except he co-owns a nightclub in San Diego.”
“Yeah, DeJa Vu. The other co-owner is my teacher. That’s how I met him Michael Marcelino. He was in town.”
“So, you want me looking into the Marcelinos because?”
“Because I think they’re the reason why my parents decided to move us from San Diego to Neptune.”
“This is a lot more complicated than I thought. Yet intriguing.”
“So you’ll still look into it?”
“Well, I mean, I can. But I might have better results if I actually go to San Diego-“
“Look, I’ll pay whatever your rate is plus any expense you incur during your investigation. Gas, food. I’ll even pay for your hotel if you do end up staying in San Diego for a day or two.”
“I do need a vacation…”
Kaylie gave her a look.
“I’m totally kidding,” Veronica laughed. “Is there a deadline for this?”
“Not really, I just want to know what the connection is.”
“Consider me all over this!”
“Thanks! Uh, here’s my number,” Kaylie grabbed a pen out from her backpack and scribbled her number on Veronica’s napkin. “Just call or text if you need anything!”
Kaylie walked back to her lunch table.
“What could you possible want with Veronica Mars?” Madison asked.
“She’s just helping me out with something,” Kaylie replied.
“You really need to learn how to choose who you’re seen with more carefully.”
“Thanks, but I think I can manage on my own,” Kaylie replied, disliking Madison’s tone. “I’ll see you guys later.”
Kaylie quickly dismissed Madison’s mean girl comment and focused on finally being one step closer to answering the question that had been bugging her the whole summer: why was her mom so afraid of the Marcelinos?